This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 295, the interim heavyweight title was on the line. Arguably the two most exciting heavyweights in the division battled it out as Tom Aspinall (14-3) took on Sergei Pavlovich (18-2) for the interim title.
Originally, Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic were supposed to headline the show for the undisputed title. However, when Jones tore his pec off the bone, that fight was pulled and this interim title fight came together with less than two weeks’ notice. Pavlovich was already prepping to be the backup fighter.
Tom Aspinall on the other hand was on vacation dealing with a nagging back. However, he didn’t hesitate to take the fight when he got the call. Everything got worked out during a stressful buildup to the fight and Tom Aspinall got his shot at the interim title at UFC 295.
Both of these men are ferocious finishers and I didn’t expect the fight to go incredibly long. It didn’t take long for Pavlovich to rearrange the mouthpiece of Aspinall with a huge shot. However, Aspinall does what he does and used his exceptional footwork to stay at range.
Then, the Englishman stepped forward with a massive 1-2. The right hand bounced off the temple and you could tell Pavlovich was out. Another massive right hand landed and Tom Aspinall became the UFC’s interim heavyweight champion.
What’s next after UFC 295?
Dana White reiterated after Saturday night that the undisputed title fight with Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic is still going to happen. However, given Jones’ injury, it likely won’t happen until next summer or perhaps it won’t even happen until the UFC returns to Madison Square Garden a year from now next November.
So, where does that leave Tom Aspinall? Aspinall was vocal in the post-fight press conference that his dream is to fight Jon Jones. Of course, Aspinall could not have been more respectful when speaking of the GOAT, he just wants that shot for his own legacy. Time will tell if that fight ever happens.
For now, Jones will take on Miocic and Aspinall is in limbo. My guess is that they’ll book another interim title fight in the meantime. Aspinall against Ciryl Gane makes the most sense to me given the heavyweight division, but Aspinall didn’t seem that into the fight and said that Gane turned down the opportunity to fight him already.
Nevertheless, my assumption is that the UFC would move in that direction if possible. Aspinall mentioned Jailton Almeida and said he should fight Gane, but I think the promotion would put Almeida against Curtis Blaydes before they’d give Almeida the Gane fight. Especially after the incredibly lackluster headliner Almeida just had against Derrick Lewis. My money is that sometime in the early summer months, Tom Aspinall will be fighting Ciryl Gane.